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A Willow Creek, California, deer hunter is back home after being lost in the woods for 86 hours.

Evan Cutting became separated from his hunting partner, Dakota Fullerton, early last weekend when Fullerton, upon feeling sick, decided to call it a day and head back to his truck. Cutting, however, chose to stay in the woods and continue hunting–a decision that would ultimately prove very dangerous and costly.

A few hours later, Fullerton received desperate text messages from Cutting. Cutting texted Fullerton that he needed help.

“He said, ‘I’m out of food, out of water. I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. My legs are cramping up,'” Fullerton told the Times-Standard.

Fullerton fired gunshots into the air in an attempt to give Cutting some indicator of his whereabouts. It did no good.

Authorities and a search-and-rescue team couldn’t find Cutting either. They were also unable to determine Cutting’s location by triangulating his text messages.

There’s a mysterious twist to the story. Cutting called his family and friends on his cell phone at 10:00 pm Tuesday night, three days after he had gone missing. He indicated that he would soon be walking out of the woods. According to a sheriff’s report, Cutting did, indeed, walk out of the woods about an hour later.

Fullerton, however, claims that he went into the woods on Tuesday night with his own search party of friends, and they eventually found Cutting.

Why the contradiction between the sheriff’s report and Fullerton’s story? And, why was Cutting able to use his cell phone after being unreachable for three days? It’s a perplexing end to the case, but regardless, all parties involved expressed happiness with the outcome.

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